The Life and Times of John Wycliff – Part 2

John Wycliffe’s conflicts with the church of his day increased, he rejected the medieval view of the sacraments, especially that of the teaching of transubstantiation. Fiercely critical, he rejected the Papacy’s claim to Lordship over the church. His enemies were many, and by them he was hated and despised. He endorsed the right of clergy to marry, and fearlessly condemned the errors and abuses of the church and its leaders.

Some parts of his life are shrouded in mystery, with little information available to tell us about what he did, but this we know of Wycliffe, he advocated the translation of the Bible out of Latin into the native tongue of his countrymen, so that “all Christians are given the right to read it.” We learn that above all he set forth the free sovereign unconditional efficacious grace of God as the only way of salvation. He was committed to biblical preaching, saying that it lay at the heart of the pastoral ministry, describing it as the pastor’s highest duty.

He justifiably has come to be recognised as one of the “Morning Stars of the Reformation.” Some of his followers became known as Lollards. His end came when he was struck down by a severe stroke. Even in death his enemies could not retain their hatred of him. Several years after his death they dug up his bones, burnt them and threw the ashes into the River Swift. Thus as his ashes were distributed in the rivers and waterways of England, thence into the sea, so his influence and his teaching spread, benefiting many, even unto the present day.

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